Discovery of and Insights into DNA “Codes” for Tunable Morphologies of Metal Nanoparticles

Nitya Sai Reddy Satyavolu, Kang Yong Loh, Li Huey Tan, Yi Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The discovery and elucidation of genetic codes has profoundly changed not only biology but also many fields of science and engineering. The fundamental building blocks of life comprises of four simple deoxyribonucleotides and yet their combinations serve as the carrier of genetic information that encodes for proteins that can carry out many biological functions due to their unique functionalities. Inspired by nature, the functionalities of DNA molecules have been used as a capping ligand for controlling morphology of nanomaterials, and such a control is sequence dependent, which translates into distinct physical and chemical properties of resulting nanoparticles. Herein, an overview on the use of DNA as engineered codes for controlling the morphology of metal nanoparticles, such as gold, silver, and Pd-Au bimetallic nanoparticles is provided. Fundamental insights into rules governing DNA controlled growth mechanisms are also summarized, based on understanding of the affinity of the DNA nucleobases to various metals, the effect of combination of nucleobases, functional modification of DNA, the secondary structures of DNA, and the properties of the seed employed. The resulting physical and chemical properties of these DNA encoded nanomaterials are also reviewed, while perspectives into the future directions of DNA-mediated nanoparticle synthesis are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1900975
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 26 2019


  • DNA
  • metal nanoparticles
  • sequence-specificity
  • shape-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Discovery of and Insights into DNA “Codes” for Tunable Morphologies of Metal Nanoparticles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this